Criminal Minds Review: "With Friends Like These"

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It almost felt like it was too soon.

Too soon to just go back to the same old routine, too soon to be moving on from Emily's departure. The void left by Prentiss (and JJ) continues to hang over the show.

The last episode had the feel of a season finale to it, with so much to discuss and so many unanswered questions. But life goes on, as the BAU has new cases to solve.

Not that Emily wasn't acknowledged. Morgan finds Garcia staring at Prentiss' picture at the onset, and Hotch tells Rossi he's already looking for an experienced profiler.

Morgan on CM

"With Friends Like These," who needs enemies? The old adage certainly applied to last night's Criminal Minds, which featured a schizophrenic unsub being manipulated.

Or did it? We zeroed in on a group of unsubs, but it's Ben who does the killing after Matt, Yolanda, and Tony convince him. Immediately, the BAU knows it's a group job.

The unsubs appear disorganized, but then Morgan finds an interesting clue - there was only one person other than the victim at the store, and he was talking to himself.

Could it be that unsub Ben is being egged on by voices in his head?

Cut to our suspect trying to convince the "others" not to go after someone else, but eventually giving in. No one else is inside the van he exits to go commit the crime.

Portraying "voices" as actual characters (a la A Beautiful Mind) was a convincing way of showing just how afflicted and helpless a paranoid schizophrenic person can be.

The voices are telling him to kill, but these aren't typical voices.

This case hit particularly close to home for Reid, who was in his own world (in a manner of speaking) as the team profiled Ben and the hallucinations that compel him.

Reid's own history has him worried about developing schizophrenia and the potentially terrible side effects. Morgan realizes he's worried he'll develop schizophrenia.

Reid tells him about the headaches, but Morgan tries to help him shake it off for now. You get the feeling this is not something he'll be able to do that with for long.

The latest clue, courtesy of Garcia, is that the unsub wants to exorcise the demons, which is spot on. At least he wanted to, before a priest basically sent him away.

The priest tells Morgan and Reid about Ben and that he had a stutter. Meanwhile, Ben kills a woman he met on the bus, pretending she's his mother (the catalyst).

Then he wakes up next to her. Thoroughly creepy and sad.

This victim represents his mother and the stresses from childhood that helped make him the way he is. He tries to fight the demons, but it's a losing battle for him.

All he wants to do is sleep, but can't. He's an insomniac, which Reid realizes. After the BAU closes in on the suspect, Reid almost breaks through and disarms him.

Sadly, the voices are just too strong. As he goes after Reid, Hotch is shoots him, disarming Ben at last. Is he a schizophrenic? Was he always? We may never know.

It was an interesting ending to a sad saga. When dealing with such a depraved individual, are you supposed to feel bad? Are they, in fact, a victim in this as well?

As much as we love Emily and J.J., the team as presently constructed can still be a lot of fun to watch, and episodes like this are still grisly and captivating as ever.

That said, there's a human element missing and Seaver, deliberately or not, has yet to fill the shoes of these women. There's still time for her to grow, however.

What did you think of last night's Criminal Minds? Discuss!

With Friends Like These Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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